If you start out onto Highway 288 from Lake Jackson, you have one of the best vantage points for watching our Houston skyline come into view. From the wide-open spaces starting around the Stephen F. Austin statue, you can watch the skyscrapers steadily become more focused as you traverse expanses of trees and pasture. In the early mornings, you end up traveling with long-distance commuters, and on weekends you share the road with short-term vacationers and the random fleet of pleasure boats and weekend-warrior bikers. After you pass the Pearland exit, things get a tad grimmer as the city's grid of freeways and advertising closes in on you. But for a good 20miles, you can discover all over again what brings people into town in the first place. Naturally, that same skyline is just as sweet as seen in your rearview mirror.